Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  January 24, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PST

8:00 am
01/24/14 01/24/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from park city, utah, this is democracy now! ,> in terms of the agreement rebel group.of the made up of civilians who are not , orders tomilitary
8:01 am
stop fighting may not be obeyed. >> after more than a month of violence that left thousands dead, rivals in south sudan reach a cease-fire agreement. we'll look at a new documentary that shows how south sudan has become ground zero for contemporary colonialism in africa. >> "we come as friends" depicts sudanrces trying to shape while simultaneously applauding the alleged independence of the world's newest state. what emerges is a devastating critique of the consequences of cultural and economic imperialism. we will speak with the film's director hubert sauper. the 41sts week marks anniversary of roe v wade. here at sundance, a new film
8:02 am
"obvious child" breaks new ground. it is a romantic comedy about abortion. we will speak with the erector gillian robespierre. ande were disenchanted frustrated by the limited representation of women, real women in movies and unplanned pregnancy in movies. instead of waiting and waiting, we decided to go out and make this on our own. >> all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. an independent congressional panel has concluded the nsa's bulk collection of phone records is illegal. privacy andort, the civil liberties oversight board says the program has had only minimal benefits in stopping terrorism and should be brought to an end. the panel says the program --
8:03 am
president obama said last week he intends to reform the bulk collection, but his plan would preserve his capabilities. the panel's conclusion will likely reinforce calls to the granting of comments he to edward snowden, the whistleblower who brought all collection and other surveillance programs to light. at a public event on thursday, attorney general eric holder continue to rollout clemency for snowden. holder said he is only open to discussing a plea deal of snowden returns home and pleads guilty. >> the notion of comments he was not something we were willing to consider. as i said, were he to come back to the united states and enter a
8:04 am
plea, we would engage with his lawyers. >> presumably, that would be a guilty plea to something. >> in an online chat on thursday, snowden said he would consider returning to the u.s. if the government reformed its whistleblower protection laws, which failed to cover him as a private contractor. referring to his concerns about mass surveillance, snowden said "it's not good for our country, it's not good for the world, and i wasn't going to stand by and watch it happen, no matter how much it cost me." south sudan rivals have signed a cease-fire agreement after five weeks of violence that killed thousands of people and displaced more than half a million. both sides have voiced caution in reiterating concerns over unmet demands. the most recent bout of fighting began last month as a political dispute between president salva kiir and his former vice president, but quickly escalated
8:05 am
into ethnic clashes that raised fears of a civil war. we will have more on south sudan after the headlines. the human brokered syria prose talks -- peace talks have hit a snag today with opposition delegates refusing to meet directly with government counterparts. the two sides were due for their first face-to-face talks after opening rounds of speeches on wednesday. the al-assad regime rejected the opposition's precondition of endorsing the formation of a transitional government. brahimi islakhdar shuttling between the two sides today to keep the meeting alive. at least five people have been killed and over 70 wounded in three separate bombings in the egyptian capital of cairo. the first attack at the main headquarters of the egyptian police, shattering windows and leaving a gaping hole in the street. no one has claimed responsibility, but a sinai-based militant group they carried out previous attacks on police released a statement threatening further violence.
8:06 am
the military government has used previous incidents to increase its crackdown on the muslim brotherhood. in a statement, the brotherhood said it "strongly condemns the cowardly bombings." the attacks come one day before the third anniversary of the launch of the uprising that ousted mubarak. rennie president hassan rouhani has issued a new overture to the u.s. and neighboring middle eastern countries, saying his government is ready for constructive engagement. rouhani spoke thursday at the world economic forum. >> i hereby announce that one of the theoretical and practical pillars of my government is constructive engagement with the world. my government is fully prepared and ready to engage with all neighboring countries to achieve shared practical solutions and sustainable legal regimes on a range of issues such as the environment, joint economic projects, trade expansion,
8:07 am
realization of the palestinian people's rights, tackling the trinitarian crisis in syria, security of the persian gulf, as well as the fight against terrorism and extremism. >> the interim deal to slow iran's nuclear program in return for sanctions relief took effect earlier this week. india's supreme court has ordered a probe after the gang rape of a woman in eastern west state. 13 suspects have been accused of gang raping the victim on the orders of village elders as punishment for her having relationship with a man outside their tribe. a doctor treating the victim says she is in stable condition. stable.s >> when will she be discharged? in ontors are looking her. >> last month marked the first anniversary of the death of an
8:08 am
indian woman was gang raped on a new daily bus. that case ignited india drew attention to sexual violence around the world. a new study says a new study says the number of civilian casualties from u.s. reward pakistan saw major decline in 2013. the bureau of investigative journalism says as many as four but possibly no civilians were killed by cia drones last year. as many as 63 civilians were killed in pakistan the previous year. yemen, mnwhile, saw as many as 29 civilians killed, including up to 15 in an attack on a wedding convoy late last month. a federal appeals court has sided with the challenge to oil drilling off alaska's northwest coast. a coalition of native and environmental groups had objected to the u.s. government's authorization of oil and gas projects, warning of threats to see life and contamination of the ocean. in a ruling this week, the u.s. court of appeals for the ninth circuit said the government
8:09 am
performed in inadequate assessment of the potential environmental impact that used only the best case scenario. the ruling could jeopardize the oil giant shell's plans to resume drilling operations in the arctic this summer. itsl previously suspended operation after a series of mishaps. in a joint statement, the plaintiffs in the case called the ruling a victory for the arctic am adding -- president obama has launched a new task force to combat sexual assault on college campuses. a new white house report says one in five women college students evidence actually assaulted at school, but just 12% notify police. the task force will be asked to lay out goals for increasing rates of arrests, prosecutions,
8:10 am
and convictions. virginia has announced it will no longer defend its ban on same-sex marriage from federal lawsuits. attorney general mark herring said he has concluded the ban is unconstitutional, a sharp departure from his predecessor, republican ken cuccinelli. the family of an african-american teenager executed in south carolina nearly 70 years ago is asking for new trial. the 14-year-old was put to death in 1944 for the murders of two white girls. he was the youngest prisoner to be executed by the u.s. government in the last century. in an historic move, his family says they want the case reach right in order to clear his name. the defense attorney says the family deserves justice. >> there was no cross examination. that is what we know. this case was handled so poorly, his family was treated so poorly
8:11 am
in the circumstances in 1944, that his rights were snuffed out then. it was only later when the state changed, the political system changed, and the revolution that we have today, that we're able to come before the court and even bring his rights and his case to the court in some way or he can get justice. >> an african-american teenager in philadelphia is facing charges stemming from an incident in which police left him seriously injured. the 16-year-old darren manning was on his way to a basketball game when he was stopped and frisk earlier this month. manning says in the course of being patted down, and officer squeezed his genitals with such force, that he suffered a ruptured testicle. he underwent emergency surgery and is still having trouble walking. his family now says they worry if you will be able to father children. manning, a straight a student come has been charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest, and reckless endangerment. trial has been set for march.
8:12 am
on thursday, a crowd of demonstrators raved freezing temperatures to rally in support of manning outside of pulmonary hearing. his attorney calling for a federal investigation into whether police violated his client civil rights. >> those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from the sundance film festival in park city, utah. in a major breakthrough in peace negotiations, south sudan rivals have signed a cease-fire agreement that mandates all fighting and within 24 hours. the deal between south sudan's government and rebel forces was reached on thursday in ethiopia after five weeks of violence that killed thousands and displaced more than half a million south sudanese. earlier efforts that negotiationschchch reached an ie over the key disagreements come including the rebels demand for the freedom of 11 detainees and the withdrawal of ugandan troops fighting alongside government forces.
8:13 am
the cease-fire is being hailed as the first step to ending the conflict, but both sides voiced caution and reiterated concerns over unmet demands. this is the chief negotiator for the south sudanese government, nhial.en is the capacity of the rebel group will stop given that the bulk of the rebel army is made up of civilians were not subject to military discipline, orders bestop fighting may not heard. >> [indiscernible] we remain in demand the release [indiscernible]
8:14 am
>> the most recent bout of fighting and south sudan began last month as a political dispute between president salva kiir and his former deputy riek quickly escalated into a full-blown conflict with reports of ethnic killings. here at the sundance film festival in park city, uh, new documentary shows how south sudan has become ground zero for contemporary colonialism in africa. director hubert sauper's "we come as friends," provides an aerial view of the conflict in sudan from a shaky, handmade two-seater plane. the film depicts american investors, chinese oilmen, united nations officials, and christian missionaries struggling to shape sedan according to their own visions while simultaneously applauding the alleged independence of the world's newest state.
8:15 am
what emerges is a devastating critique of the consequences of cultural and economic imperialism. in this clip from the film, we hear an english businessman address an investors conference in the capital juba followed by news reports of the newly formed nation of south sudan. >> that is a clip from hubert sauper's new documentary "we
8:16 am
come as friends" that just from your cure the sundance film festival. for more we're joined by hubert sauper. his 2004 film was nominated for an academy award. , welcome tor democracy now! this is a fascinating film. can you relate the film to what is happening today in south sudan? >> hi, amy, thanks for having me. yes, as a documentary filmmaker, you work for years. i worked for six years on this film. i'm not a newscast person. i finished making it in 2012. the last episode of my film happened at the moment when the newly formed state sedan transgressed the new formed border to its neighbor north sudan.
8:17 am
in exchange, they bombed villages of south sudan and it was a big fight over an oilfield , which you can see in the movie. but say two years on, conflict a called,forms, but it is let's not say religious conflict because when i shot the film two years ago, until then it was officially a conflict dream muslims and christians -- conflict between muslims and christians. it is a complicated story. now the muslims are contained in another country in north sudan. mr. bashir is at work and quite known in the world. he is known for being not a very tender president, but now the south sudan is no longer fighting between the religious lines. it becomes ethnic lines. newer tribes were fighting
8:18 am
against other tribes and to warlords are trying to figure out who is going to strike the deal. is the same thing, a divided country, and it is the oil and water for an island, the gold. >> talk about the larger forces at play. "we come as friends" is a movie that depicts the pathology of colonialism, basically. it is very complicated and hundreds of or thousands of years old, pathology. should i talk about the movie? >> which is what you do with the movie, these larger forces at play. in fact, let me play a clip from the film talking about these larger forces. the u.s. ambassador to south sudan is speaking at the opening of a new power plant near the
8:19 am
kenyan border. at one point, his address is interrupted by protesters.
8:20 am
>> the u.s. ambassador to south sudan speaking at the opening of a new power plant near the kenyan border, saying we literally and figuratively are bringing light. hubert sauper? >> well, that is a very known old phrase.
8:21 am
i think the ambassador is well-meaning, i'm sure. of movie is about my sense the problem, which is very, very old in human history, which is outside forces coming into play. in this case, it is south sudan, the very place resell the opening of this power plant, making electricity for the locals, the place where most of the gold resources of this new .ountry are under the ground nobody really talks about it, but i think when you want to extract gold, you need a lot of electricity. i presume there is a connection between this new power plant in the future gold expiration. you also need a lot of fresh water gold, and there's also freshwater in this place. for me, it was amazing as a filmmaker to come to a place like south sudan like a window
8:22 am
of history because one of the main consequences of colonialism is the division to rule. divide and rule. most people know that africa was cut into 50 pieces 100 years ago, and now it is basically in 2011, sedan was cut in two more pieces. everyone was basically applauding this new situation because we have two new countries and it is going to be peaceful. not many people talked about the new order, which is thousands of kilometers long. all along the borders of africa, people die. this order cuts straight to the oil fields. ofch is the scene of the end the movie, which we may not have time to see, but it is a terrifying and. >> i want to go back to another
8:23 am
clip of your film "we come as friends." a tribal leader in south sudan coming to understand he is least about 2300 square miles of community land to a dallas-based company called the nile trading and development operation. the contracts are explained to him by political activist from juba.
8:24 am
>> that is a clip from "we come as friends." the amount of land was sold for 2300 square miles and is approximately equivalent of greater metropolitan chicago. hubert sauper, how did this happen? >> you know, i cannot tell you how it happened, i can just tell you it is a fantastic thing as a filmmaker to experience -- i say fantastic and a bit of a sarcastic meaning -- to experience things from history which we know -- one of the things in colonial history in africa was mr. stanley went for the belgian king into the congo and made tribal chiefs sign
8:25 am
contracts to give up their land and suddenly, as a filmmaker, 100 years later, we end up experiencing life firsthand the same situation again. it is literally jaw-dropping. i'm holding a very small camera and seeing things that happened which are historic in a way, but symbolic. amazing amazing, experience as a film maker and i'm transposing this experience as art and now it is showing in sundance. >> and a moment, i want to talk about how youpent the last six years making this film and the airplane he built to travel from france to sedan. but first, another of the forces "t play in "we come as friends depicted are the missionaries.
8:26 am
here an evangelist from oklahoma is preaching to a group of students in his missionary school the small town in south sudan you're the kenyan border.
8:27 am
>> the missionaries, hubert sauper? >> the missionaries. well, i worked for six years on "we come as friends" and we made a lot of friends on the way. small home built airplane, as you said, which we built with the film -- the film crew built a small airplane. we are kind of aliens in this environment. we meet aliens also. --e of the aliens we met "aliens" are oil workers working
8:28 am
in a close environment who have ,ir-conditioned containers bulletproof dining rooms, and are surrounded by local people who never speak to those chinese people. some of the people we met were evangelists, as you just saw in your clip. they have their ideas of the world and they bring the word of jesus and light and hygiene and order -- i think order is a very important thing. it is a very, very important aspect of colonialism to bring order into chaos and make people march in step and make people wear uniforms. one of the things you need to do before you put children into uniforms is you give them shirts and make them wear clothing. people who are running around use and naked, you cannot
8:29 am
as soldiers, for example. and so forth. "we come asie friends" is trying to describe is not a judgment to missionaries. they are very sympathetic and good meaning people. in very nicely. i was basically just documenting what the camera sees. it is a very casual thing that people bring the word of god and the bible. it is just a collection of all these things. you see the perspective from the local people. there is air but -- arabs coming with the koran, christians coming with the bible, chinese coming to get oil. foru.n. is dropping food poor people. the government of north sedan
8:30 am
are dropping bombs. all of this, one of the reasons why i used an airplane to make this movie is a lot of symbolism kind of coincides with black talk about this airplane. it is astonishing. >> we don't have time to be in the cockpit. i am flying with my -- >> what is the engine used? engine important in the was my friends who came with me. a filmmaker from america, barney, he is so talented. he was learning how to fly over the war zone with me. was filming amazing shots. i was filling myself. we used this little airplane as a means of transport to go into places where we were not in this -- for we were not necessarily invited, chinese oil camps or literary camps.
8:31 am
we were literally and figuratively dropped from the sky. sometimes we dropped and sometimes we had to land because we did not have fuel. people took us in and we made friends with the locals or the military leaders. we had uniforms, basically to get along better with the military. -- we lookedbecame like idiots in uniforms. >> you look like pilots. >> we were pilots, but we were pilots in a flying tin can. walked out to first officers and commanders and we were saluted by the military. just to finish that, the airplane itself is a symbol of domination, of superiority of let's say europeans over africa over the centuries. it is a phallic machine. it comes down -- it is white and comes down onto the black country. it is an evil machine.
8:32 am
it is connected to religious symbolisms. the u.n. has this beautiful white bird to bring all of these doctors and health. within itselfain a number of symbolisms which are, of course, used in this kind of film. as in this one "we come friends." >> it is a remarkable film and i hope we have another conversation when it opens in theaters. the film has just premiered at the sundance film festival. hubert sauper is the director. it is called "we come as friends." it has just premiered here and we will have its european premiere at the berlin film festival next month. his 2004 film "darwin snap their" -- "darwin's nightmare" was nominative for an academy award. when we come back, we go to bahrain. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
8:33 am
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report.
8:34 am
i'm amy goodman. from theoadcasting sundance film festival in park city, utah. orturn now to bahrain, reconciliation talks between the ruling monarchy and opposition groups have resumed against -- amidst the continued crackdown on dissidents. shiite opposition groups reportedly met with the royal court minister and expressed over neustar to a stalled national dialogue. the beret need government has waged a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in said uprising broke out of that door 2011. the u.s.-backed monarchy is home to the u.s. navy's fifth fleet. bahrain is a key strategic asset in the region because it directly faces iran. a new documentary here at sundance looks at the situation in bahrain through the lens of a prominent family of activists. the documentary is called "we are the giant." in this clip, we hear from zainab al-khawaja followed by her sister maryam. >> a lot of arabs have been
8:35 am
feeling a matter what i do, nothing is going to change. without hope, you're not going to get anywhere. you have to believe this is going somewhere. that is why i can't give up. i had been arrested maybe seven times i think. i have been beaten and injured. i have more than 13 cases against me in court. i do feel guilty when i leave my daughter for a long while. when she wakes up in the middle of the night, worried i'm going to prison. last night she woke up and will need to tell me, please, don't go to jail. and never told her i went to jail, but she here stuff. kids are so smart. she wakes me up and tells me, don't go to prison. >> a lot of people say, should she be at home with her kid? that is what she is doing a four, her child. >> that is zainab and her sister maryam. the family has paid a heavy
8:36 am
price for speaking out against the bahraini government. maryam's father is abdulhadi alkhawaja who is serving a life sentence in prison. he is artie spent two years in jail. maryam's sister zainab, whom we have often interviewed, is also in prison now. a close friend of the family nabeel rajab is also in jail. earlier this week, i sat down in parkyam al-khawaja city, utah. she is the groups acting president. i asked her to describe the situation now. >> we're still sing a deteriorating the jewish and when it comes to human rights violations. i as the incentive to stop the human rights violations, mainly because they feel they have international community for their violations in the past three years. even though there is talk about the dialogue, it doesn't seem
8:37 am
the dialogue has any effect on the ongoing violations, whether we're talking about house raids or arrests, beating or systematic torture. >> talk about your own family in prison. >> my father went through all the legal actions the possibly could be, but we all know the judiciary system in bahrain does not work. it is all about a political decision. if we can get enough international pressure for his release, that is probably the only way to get him out. court zainab, she is a date coming up. she still has about six pending cases in courts. she supposed to be released in february after serving one year, but i'm guessing without the right amount of international attention to her case, they are probably going to sentence her to further prison. >> explain what she did. >> zainab has been very influential in the protest movement. at a time when everyone was used to running away when being tear gassed, she decided to stand against the riot police.
8:38 am
she became instrumental in that kind of -- building that kind of civil disobedience where instead of running away when you're getting shot at, you defy the fear, the find a way they think you're supposed to react by reacting in a completely different way. continuallycourse, speaking about what was going on, documenting the situation on the ground, sitting with mimimifamilies of victims of extradition killings or torture and documenting their stories and making sure the world knows about it. >> maryam al-khawaja, what about the multinational corporation role in bahrain and supporting the monarchy and specifically, the united states? >> we always talk about two types of human rights violators. there are people who commit the crimes, which would be the bahraini regime in this instance. and then the human rights violation enablers. they do business as usual with these regimes while committing the crimes are committing. because of that business as
8:39 am
usual, because they continue to do business the way they do, this enables the government to continue the crackdown they're doing. so whether we're talking about the airshow or talking about the formula one coming up in april -- >> the car race. >> yes, or if we're talking about the visit from prince andrew from the united kingdom to celebrate 200 years of cooperation with the bahraini by the united kingdom, all of these things enable the bahraini government to continue doing what they're doing. like i said earlier, it puts them in a situation where they have absolutely no incentive to stop the human rights violations. >> what about the u.s. navy's fifth fleet? craney, the u.s. and bob have a great deal of cooperation going on. >> death valley. i personally met with people from the department of defense, the state department, congress and so on. i have been told over and over slate ist moving the
8:40 am
not on the table. it is not something we are necessarily demanding at the moment, but i think what is really frustrating and what is very shameful, to put it that way, is the fact that only are they not aching about moving the fifth fleet -- just a few months ago, the head of the navy came out and said their expanding the fifth fleet in bahrain. everyone saw this as being an appeasement with saudi after the irene deal. -- iran deal. i think especially at a time when the bahraini government has offered absolutely no reforms, no stopping of the human rights violations that are ongoing right now, he really is sending the wrong message when they tell the bahraini government, well, we're are going to expand our fifth fleet in the country. >> whether or not the fifth fleet expands, it means the us has a great deal of say in bahrain over policy. >> definitely. if i wanted, the united states
8:41 am
has huge leverage as well as the united kingdom. if they want to take a stand for human rights, for example, does follow up on what president obama said in 2011, which is, if you want to have a national dialogue, you need a peaceful opposition who should be at the table released from prison. today those peaceful opposition's he spoke about are still in prison. yet there has been absolutely no follow-up. we're looking at a situation where the united states and the united kingdom and these countries that say human rights and democracy are the cornerstone of their foreign policy are actually turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the human rights situation. >> your father is imprisoned prison, your sister is in prison. , close family friend, is in prison, among many other people. have you been in prison? >> not personally, but because i left bahrain just before the
8:42 am
tanks rolled over the bridge. i have only been back once in 2013 for a very short time to see my family. the last time i attempted to go back to bahrain, last august, i was denied boarding by british airways by the request of the bahraini government. >> bridge airways said no? >> they said no. i told them i was a bahraini citizen and they said there was a request from the bahraini not to allow me to board the plane. >> overall, if you could talk about what your demands are of the bahraini monarchy. >> i work in human rights organization, so our demands are very much related to human rights. it is basically to stop the human rights violations and then to initiate a situation where you have accountability. without accountability, you cannot move forward. charge feelple in like they can get away with violations, they will commit the violation. if we want to move forward at
8:43 am
all, first of all, we have to start with stopping the crackdown and then initiating a period of accountability. as a human rights defender, and i know many see this as unrealistic because of the standing of the bahraini monarchy, but i believe the bahraini king and the prime minister should all be given a fair trial where if they are found accountable or responsible for the violations that have taken place and the crimes in past three years, they should be held accountable. >> can you talk about what those violations are? not limitedinclude, to, the use of unnecessary force against unarmed protesters, the action additional killings of a number of people -- extradition will killings of a number of people, and systematic torture. the king claimed he did not know about the torture. it was documented how it was happening. he has no excuse of saying he does not know. he does know. you have these different crimes
8:44 am
and human rights violations that have been ongoing. the top of the leadership of bahrain, the king and a prime minister, are very well aware of. we even have a video clip of the prime minister meeting up with someone who has been implicated in torturing doctors who treated patients who was acquitted by the courts. >> doctors treating patients who were hurt during protests. >> exactly. doctors treating protesters. the prime minister told him, you broke the law -- you are above the law and you will not be held accountable. >> if they're comfortable saying to that on people on video that you will not be held accountable by our laws, you can see how high up this systematic policy of impunity goes. >> that was maryam al-khawaja, the acting president of the bahrain center for human rights. i spoke with her here in park city, utah. she and her sister zainab are featured in the new film, "we are the giant." the father is a well-known human rights activist abdulhadi alkhawaja.
8:45 am
both he and zainab are currently in prison in during -- bahrain. when we come back, a romantic comedy about abortion? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
8:46 am
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. broadcasting from sundance film festival in park city, utah. as we turn to one of the most talked about films at sundance this year, it's called "obvious child" like the paul simon song you just heard. the film stars former saturday night live cast member denny slate as donna stern, brooklyn
8:47 am
comedian who speaks openly about sexuality and other taboo topics on stage. when don it ends up pregnant, she decides to have an abortion. the topic is rarely dealt with in films. obvious child has been held as the first romantic comedy about abortion, but it is much more than that. the film premiered here at sundance and has been acquired 24 for a rumored seven-figure sum. i said, the director, gillian robespierre. ploted her to describe the of "obvious child." >> the movie is about donna whon played by jenny slate gets pregnant just in time for downtimes day. -- valentine's day. it is really about a woman who is trying to figure out she's growing up. she is not very confident in the beginning of the story.
8:48 am
she lets things just happen to her. she is not really taking charge of her life. ofhink through the course the movie, while it is subtle, she does change a little bit and gains or confidence toward the end. >> an abortion is one of the themes of this film. and that is very unusual, especially for it to be wrapped in a very positive way. talk about that decision. >> in 2009, my best friends and i wanted to make this movie. we were sort of disenchanted and frustrated by the limited representation of women -- real women in movies. an unplanned pregnancy in movies. instead of waiting and waiting, we decided to go out and make this on our own and we did. we shot it in four days. this is before jenny was on "snl
8:49 am
." she was a standup comedian we met in a brooklyn, the scene. i love standup. i'm not one, she is. her performance on stage. within five minutes, i knew she had to be in this movie. we were looking for someone who was funny and lewd and had a lot of heart and we had a hard time finding that after. when i went to that big terrific show and saw her, i knew she had to be in this movie. >> the first film he made was 22 minutes or something? >> yes, 22 minutes. >> and what happened? >> it had a very weak festival run. what really happened, we put it on the internet. it just took off from there. there were so supportive of this film in a way i did not know they would latch onto it that
8:50 am
way. 40,000 people watched this little short. that inspired me to turn it into a feature. piece --is this the figures are amazing. i want to read a little bit. life on screen can be dangerous if you're a woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy. it is quite astounding. of the 310 movies and episodes that featured abortion is a major plot line or featured an abortion provider is a main character, a striking 9% per trade the death of a woman after having -- or even deciding on -- an abortion. that is pretty incredible. >> wow.
8:51 am
>> so you show it in a very different way. itself, you work with planned parenthood? >> we did. for the last aeration of the script, we send it to planned parenthood. we wanted their support. we wanted to shoot in planned parenthood. in the short, we shot in an orthopedic doctor's office. i wanted this to be an authentic experience for moviegoers. we sent the script to planned parenthood to make sure everything was accurate. how it dr. at a planned parenthood would speak to a patient. the look and feel of what a planned parenthood looks like. it is beautifully lit, walls are not scary or stale. it is nice and warm in planned parenthood. i did not want to show a place that was inaccurate. >> i want to compare how your film deals with abortion with
8:52 am
."hers like "juno yet the main character going into women's health clinic to get an abortion. she is meant by a classmate outside who is holding a sign that says "no babies like murdering." >> all babies want to get born! all babies want to get born! >> hey. >> hi, juno. your baby or bubbly has a beating heart, you know. it can feel pain. and it has fingernails. >> finger now, really? >>juno goes inside and she is haunted by her classmates and the baby has fingernails. she's looking at everyone's fingers and the receptionist is tapping on something like she is playing a video game or texting and she's just freaked out. it is not a very warm experience and she were runs out.
8:53 am
but no, and i'm sure that is an extreme says some women do have. i am lucky. --live in new york will stop >> one of the first places abortions were legal. >> right. i wanted to show the story without protesters. not every time you go to planned parenthood or a clinic to do anything from eating a mammogram -- getting a mammogram to just a always, you don't interact with protesters. i just wanted to show that side. and while i know you are many clinics that have protesters standing outside, that has been depicted in movies before. i have seen that. i know that exist. let's show the other side. >> how much of this film is you? >> uh, it was a collaborative effort.
8:54 am
i had many strong female women voices to help write the story. some of it we took from our lives and some of it was made up. ,> it is a big deal, even today in a sex scene in a movie for one of the characters to reach for a condom. that is very rare, let alone to make a major part of the film about abortion. and yet you come to the sundance and it is like the second film sold, sold for seven figures. this is a huge message. >> maybe people are just really ready to see this, and have been dying to see something like this they just did not know. >> so it is the 41st anniversary of roe v wade. what are your thoughts as we do this interview? >> i know that women's rights are under attack and there are many states that have put new
8:55 am
restrictions on women being able to have safe, positive procedures. i just think it is a really good time for people to tell their stories. >> how do you feel this film will impact feature films about abortion precedents for the most part, it has been either not dealt with were dealt with in very difficult ways -- in many cases, the woman meeting her doom? >> yeah, i don't know the forecast is for other films, but my hope is that other filmmakers get excited about tellingeeeee honest and real stories, and visit nice conversations -- besides. >> why is it called "obvious child"? >> i listened to paul simon in
8:56 am
the car growing up. my father blasted it on our weekend road trips. he has been part of my childhood. then i took a break from paul simon and revisited him in my 20's and had a whole different take on them. i was no longer a little girl staring out the window, i was an adult woman -- well, 20's, sort of adult woman. refell in the book him. i thought it would be reg of a sequence with someone dancing around their apartment with a boy naked to "rhythm of the saints trico it is a great song. it has this sadness to it, but it is also upbeat. it is my favorite type of music. >> what you think of this film being described as a romantic comedy about abortion? >> i'm ok with it being described as a romantic comedy. i don't think it is romantic
8:57 am
comedy about abortion. i think we deal with the romance and the comedy about her life. there is no comedy or sarcasm or jokes about abortion. -- i don't think it is true to what the film is actually about. >> it is hard to believe in 2014 you are breaking new ground and it comes to just dealing with -- when it comes to just dealing with so many people do it every day. what it comes to hollywood, it is you who are breaking ground in making this an experience that many women have and have to deal with. >> thank you. thank you so much. >> no, you're supposed to respond to that. >> i don't know how to respond. "hollywood, my phone number is --" .> that was gillian robespierre
8:58 am
that does it for a week are broadcast from sundance. i will be speaking here today at 1:00 p.m. at dolly's bookstore on main street. a special thanks to our local crew. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
8:59 am
9:00 am
left
right